The recently opened CBS investigation into the alleged racist and sexist conduct of two of its top local television executives is now in the WGA spotlight, and the guild wants a face-to-face meeting as soon as possible.
“The Writers Guild of America, East has contacted CBS regarding the investigation into the misconduct of the leaders of the local CBS television newsrooms,” the Scribes Guild said Wednesday evening.
“The union has made it clear to CBS that employees need to be able to tell investigators their truth without fear of retaliation from management,” WGA East added. “Additionally, we have asked CBS to meet with us for a mandatory diversity committee meeting.”
The union’s insertion into the squalid situation follows the administrative leave of CBS chairman Peter Dunn and senior vice-president, News David Friend, on January 25, after a dazzling report from the LA Times.
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Longtime executives Dunn and Friend “cultivated a hostile work environment which included intimidating female managers and blocking efforts to hire and retain black journalists,” the full article read from LAT. In another issue that rightly sparked an uproar on the East Coast, it was also claimed that Dunn used racist language when it came to CBS’s well-respected Philadelphia news anchor Ukee Washington.
This last question aroused the wrath of the National Association of Black Journalists. After meeting with CBS executives, the NABJ demanded that Dunn and Friend be immediately fired.
It hasn’t happened yet.
However, in the latest incident at the ViacomCBS-owned company, Entertainment Group chief George Cheeks announced on January 29 that attorney Keisha-Ann Gray of the law firm Proskauer Rose had been “hired” to lead. an investigation into what really happened with Dunn and Friend, and maybe more.
“I also understand that some employees are often reluctant to come forward and share their concerns, but I assure you that your voice will be heard and that we will act on the results of the investigation both promptly and appropriately,” said Cheeks in the first. such public crisis of his reign when Les Moonves was running CBS.
The fact that Proskauer Rose was involved in the investigation of the various misconduct allegations that toppled the once-invulnerable Moonves in 2018 is certainly a potential source of concern for some at CBS. In this investigation and others at CBS and its productions, there were concerns. that in-house and outside lawyers and other investigators were not always separated from the company paying their fees – a sentiment Cheeks and ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish de facto acknowledged in their respective memos the last week
A feeling that the WGA East obviously also picks up on.